Consider This: What’s the right amount of ad partners for me? (Part 2)

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In part 1 of this two part series, I discussed how the length of your ad stack can actually impact your discrepancy rates, drive competition and asked you to think about manageability.

Let’s dive in a little deeper. In part 2 I will go over:

User Impact
Long-Term vs. Short-Term
Building Relationships with Ad Partners
Testing New Ad Partners
User Impact:

If you are attempting to figure out how many ad partners you should have for your site, it’s important to consider the behavior of your users. One easy way to do this is to review your site’s analytics. Google Analytics is just one popular example of how you can gather this information, and it’s free!

Regardless of which option you choose, using tools like this can help you understand things like how long user sessions are and how many pageviews the users see. This information is essential because this information can and will impact ad partner performance.

For example, a site which has very long user sessions where users see 10 or more pages in a session should consider having a longer ad stack. This is because most ad partners will start to pass on those impressions in search of fresh opportunities to advertise. Having other ad partners in your stack who have not had the chance to show their creative to that user will allow you to continue to monetize that user even after they are deep into their user session.

Long-Term vs. Short-Term:

When considering what length demand stack is best for you, always think about the short-term benefits and challenges and compare those to the long-term. After that, it’s up to you to make the best decision for your business.

What do I mean by this?

Consider these examples:

  1. You have an ad partner who is proposing to take over 100% of your inventory. They are promising competitive rates.

Short-term – Discrepancy will be very easy to track with only one ad partner and may actually decrease (remember our discussion in part 1); testing out new ad partners may not be an immediate option depending on the terms of your agreement

Long-term – Less ad partners to manage; a clear baseline for performance if ad partners want to work with you in the future; potential for missed opportunity to build relationships over time with other ad partners and perhaps increase revenue; limited “plan B” if ad partner performance declines

  1. You have an ad stack of 5 or more ad partners.

Short-term – Harder to track discrepancy; discrepancy may increase; more inclined to test new ad partners; potential to increase auction pressure for ad partners

Long-term – More ad partners to manage; blended performance for your inventory; increased opportunities to build relationships with ad partners which provides you with more options for monetization; increased experience working with various types of ad partners

These examples are very basic, and your short-term and long-term benefits and challenges will certainly not be limited to these illustrations. The point is, take time to weigh out the options and make the decision that is best for you.

Building Relationships with Ad Partners:

The benefits of doing this may be obvious, but not always immediately noticeable. It takes time as with any relationship. And, without much experience it might not be clear what is appropriate to communicate. For these reasons, publishers may not be as active in developing relationships with ad partners.

The more ad partners you work with the more exposure you gain to the different types of technologies and buys available to you and your inventory. You’ll start to learn the questions to ask and the expectations to set. Check out this post which discusses this a bit more in depth.

Testing New Ad Partners

Connecting all of these ideas, testing new ad partners is a great way to gain awareness of the ad partner types available in the space. Just remember to use the strategies discussed in this post.

Evaluate long-term vs. short-term benefits of adding them to your demand stack. Once you enter a relationship, make sure you are effectively communicating expectations for performance and analyze results so you can hold them accountable. Let the data speak for itself; it’ll make the conversation much more straight forward.

Doing these things will help you determine if the partner you are testing is the right partner for you. If not right now, perhaps this would be a good partner to keep in contact with for future opportunities. You won’t know until you test.

Testing is a big part of determining the right size demand stack for you. At StudyBreak Media we always test, test, test! Once you’ve decided on a strategy, don’t feel obligated to continue. Through testing, you will see which ad partners work best with your inventory and how many provide the least amount of discrepancy and the most value. Depending on the market for your inventory, this could change. The more experience you have with different ad partners, the easier it will be for you to identify the needs of your site.


If you missed part 1, check it out here. And, remember – not every site is the same. What works for one set of inventory may not be right for another.  Take time to consider the impact and trust your data.

There will always be influences outside of your control, but taking control where you can will allow you to determine the best demand stack strategy for you.